‘Holigay’ open mic brings holiday spirit to finals week


Kiran Johnson

Second-year health science major Kelly Walsh performs at NU Pride and Live Music Association’s open mic night. She performed a self-composed medley and an original song called “Home,” which described the paradox of feeling like an outsider amid coming home for the holidays.

Kiran Johnson, news correspondent

NU Pride and the Live Music Association, or LMA, hosted the “Holigay” open mic at AfterHours Nov. 29.  The event was meant to bring the queer community, music lovers and everyone in between together to celebrate the holidays and support each other, said Claire Molinich, a second-year political science and human services combined major and LMA special events co-chair.

A life-size Taylor Swift cardboard cutout loomed in the front corner of the stage. She had her hands on her hips and a hat that read “Bah Humbug.” The audience was a sprinkling of holiday sweaters, plaid jackets and turtlenecks, and the seats were just over halfway filled. The stage’s lights were muted neons, and the audience’s chatter was low, save for an occasional giddy laugh.

“My favorite part of every open mic is after I’m done, my friends come and dog pile me in hugs and it’s such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude,” said open mic singer Kelly Walsh, a second-year health science major. She performed a self-composed medley and an original song called “Home,” which described the paradox of feeling like an outsider amid coming home for the holidays.

“Not everyone is going back to a home that is the most welcoming and inviting,” Walsh said.

Performer and third-year psychology and music combined major Corinna Parrish echoed this sentiment. She emphasized this event was about “getting some pro-LGBTQ energy in the air.” Between the music and the crowd’s encouraging whoops, a sense of community and appreciation lingered.  

“You pick up on energy. Everything is about the audience’s energy,” Parrish said. 

Between the artists’ ramblings as they tuned their guitars and their heartfelt speeches of gratitude between songs, the audience bantered accordingly.

From the performer’s standpoint, it felt more like sitting down and singing with friends. “Holigay was being with your community and the people who support you,” Walsh said. “And it’s a reminder of the people that are in my life.”

Performers and organizers both felt that this musical event served as a reminder of the strong LGBTQ+ community that exists at Northeastern.

“It’s something that gets everyone together, especially in the queer community, where historically we have such few ways of self-expressing in a cisgender-heterosexual-normative society. Music is something that anyone, anywhere can do, and that allows for some really great ways of letting one’s personality show,” said Ezra Statsky-Frank, the president of NU Pride and a fourth-year computer science and finance combined major. “This was my last major event while serving on the board of NU Pride, so it was a hell of a send-off.”

At the beginning of every song, each student metamorphosed into a rock star, a poet or an acoustic songsmith. Parrish said there was a joyful feeling of watching her friends “transform and open up on stage.”

Reflecting on her journey so far, Walsh said, “I think about the chronological time of my time at Northeastern in terms of open mics and the people that were there and how I was feeling at the time. Now I’m on stage singing with purple hair.”

This mid-finals pick-me-up provided a space for people to simply be present and to share. “Holigay” was the intersection of love, community, music, LGBTQ+ pride and the holiday spirit. While Walsh and Parrish won’t be performing in their hometowns over winter break, they will carry this sentiment with them, ready to return in January for more open mics.